Age and experience are usually the best defense against the swell. But these young surfers are proving that you can make it to the top no matter if you’re in your early 20s or even 15.
joao chianca, erin brooks and Vahine Fierro are among the young talents making a statement on the international surf circuit this season. Skilled, ambitious and fearless against the biggest waves, they are sure to be the ones to watch leading up to the 2024 Paris Olympics and beyond.
Do you still have doubts? Tune in the ISA World Surfing Games 2023, that Olympics.com is broadcasting live from Surf City El Salvador from May 30 to June 7and watch them go head-to-head with Olympic medalists and world champions.
Joao Chianca: New Brazilian on the block
As many young athletes know, it’s hard to step out of the shadow of your older peers.
That’s especially true if your teammates are on the Brazilian men’s surf team. And then the best way to do that is to go straight to the top of the world rankings, which is exactly what Joao Chianca, 22 years old did in his second season at the world championship tour.
Initially billed as the little brother of big wave surfer Lucas “Chumbo” Chianca, Joao Chianca quickly made a name for himself and emerged as one of Brazil’s top prospects for Paris 2024.
Chianca did her World Championship Tour debut in 2022 where he mostly passed under the radar with a streak of five 17th-place finishes.
But everything changed in 2023. Chianca announced her presence with a third place in the first leg of the tour, while a victory in the Portugal Pro in March against Australian Jack Robinson and two additional third places helped cement his lead in the standings.
The world number 1 has yet to drop below the Top 10 this season, but perhaps what’s even more satisfying are all the wins he’s recorded in head-to-head battles with the biggest stars in the sport, including Kelly Slater, Kanoa Igarashi and Rio Weida, as well as his teammate and Olympic gold medalist Italo Ferreira.
What’s next for Chianca? A world title would not be out of the question.
Erin Brooks: High-flying teen Olympic champions are talking
Even if you’re not an expert on how the surf scoring system works, you can’t help but be impressed with Canada’s skills. erin brooks displayed on a board.
He 15 years became a viral sensation in 2022 as the first woman to do a back and forth somersault on a surfboard.
And it’s not just good in the air.
Brooks made more history in the ISA World Junior Championships 2022 in El Salvador when she won the U-16 women’s division, Canada’s first junior medal in the sport.
What makes his achievement particularly special is that Brooks grew up in Texas and stood on a surfboard for the first time when he was nine years old, after his family moved to Maui.
Inspired by her early surf lessons, Brooks entered multiple competitions in Hawaii, losing in the first round of each. Far from discouraged, the teen began training even harder, paddling her board at dawn before school and repeating the process after lessons.
That tenacity and raw talent already has veteran surfers talking. Olympic champion Italo Ferreira sends encouraging messages to Brooks, while Carissa Moore, an Olympian and five-time world champion, has congratulated Brooks on breaking ground in women’s airsurfing, saying, “Erin is doing stunts I can’t even understand.”
Vahine Fierro: Home Surf Advantage
As the surfing world looks on with understandable trepidation at the infamous mammoth waves at Teahupo’o, Tahiti, Vahine Fierro, 23 years old he hopes those waves will be as rough as possible when Olympic competition takes place on the island next summer.
Fighting the waves in tahiti It is a daily task for him. island native who started surfing when he was two years old.
When she was five years old, Fierro had spectators talking and encouraging her to enter competitions. She was hesitant to take that advice at first, preferring to view surfing as a hobby and enjoying time in the water with her younger sisters, Heimiti, 19, and Kohai, 16.
When Fierro made the leap into competitive surfing, at age 14, he turned out to be a natural fit. She quickly developed a competitive drive that pushed her from an unexpected point of view. junior title in 2018 all the way to the world championship tour.
Having surfed all over the world, it is in the waters of Tahiti that Fierro excels the most. He first tried big wave at age 15 and has recorded some of his biggest wins there. In August 2022 he entered the Tahiti Pro Stage of the World Championship Tour as a wild card and beat Olympic champion Moore in the quarterfinals to finish third overall.
With her local knowledge of Tahiti’s waves and fearless attitude, Fierro will be a surfer the world’s best are watching on the road to Paris 2024.